Archive for music

Danzig vs. Shakira

Posted in humour, music with tags on August 18, 2008 by Philonous

Math Capella

Posted in humour, maths, music, nerd pride with tags , on August 15, 2008 by Philonous

I was first sent this back in 2005 at which point I didn’t really know what it was all about. Now that I’m finally in the position where I actually get the jokes, I figure I can share it with you without loss of face. Behold the Klein Four: an A Capella group composed of mathematics students at Northwestern University near Chicago. They’re clearly differential geometers/mathematical physicists. It’s what all the cool kids do.

This simply cannot be beaten for sheer density of maths puns. Buy T-shirts here.

God Bless America

Posted in music, USA with tags on July 31, 2008 by Philonous

‘Cause it ain’t the only place on Earth, but it’s the only place that I prefer.

Roots (disambiguation)

Posted in culture, film, Food, history, literature, maths, music, science with tags , , , , , on July 23, 2008 by Philonous

In Euclidean Space:

Let V be a finite-dimensional Euclidean space, with the standard Euclidean inner product denoted by . A root system in V is a finite set Φ of non-zero vectors (called roots) that satisfy the following properties:

  1. The roots span V.
  2. The only scalar multiples of a root α ∈ Φ that belong to Φ are α itself and −α.
  3. For every root α ∈ Φ, the set Φ is closed under reflection through the hyperplane perpendicular to α. That is, for any two roots α and β, the set Φ contains the reflection of β in the plane perpendicular to α.
  4. (Integrality condition) If α and β are roots in Φ, then the projection of β onto the line through α is a half-integral multiple of α.

In view of property 3, the integrality condition is equivalent to stating that β and its reflection σα(β) differ by an integer multiple of α.

The rank of a root system is the dimension of the Euclidean space V in which it resides. Here are examples of rank 2 systems.

In the Plant Kingdom:

In vascular plants, the root is the organ of a plant body that typically lies below the surface of the soil. But, this is not always the case, since a root can also be aerial (that is, growing above the ground) or aerating (that is, growing up above the ground or especially above water). On the other hand, a stem normally occurring below ground is not exceptional either (see rhizome). So, it is better to define root as a part of a plant body that bears no leaves, and therefore also lacks nodes. There are also important internal structural differences between stems and roots. The two major functions of roots are 1.) absorption of water and inorganic nutrients and 2.) anchoring the plant body to the ground. Roots also function in cytokinin synthesis, which supplies some of the shoot’s needs. They often function in storage of food. The roots of most vascular plant species enter into symbiosis with certain fungi to form mycorrhizas, and a large range of other organisms including bacteria also closely associate with roots.

On TV:

Roots is a 1977 American television miniseries based on Alex Haley‘s work Roots: The Saga of an American Family, his critically acclaimed but factually disputed genealogical novel.

Roots was made into a hugely popular television miniseries that aired over eight consecutive nights in January 1977. Many people partially attribute the success of the miniseries to the original score by Quincy Jones. ABC network television executives chose to “dump” the series into a string of airings rather than space out the broadcasts, because they were uncertain how the public would respond to the controversial, racially-charged themes of the show. However, the series garnered enormous ratings and became an overnight sensation. Approximately 130 million Americans tuned in at some time during the eight broadcasts. The concluding episode was rated as the third most watched telecast of all time by the Nielsen corporation.
The cast of the miniseries included LeVar Burton as Kunta Kinte, Leslie Uggams as Kizzy and Ben Vereen as Chicken George. A 14-hour sequel, Roots: The Next Generations, aired in 1979, featuring the leading African-American actors of the day. In 1988, a two-hour made-for-TV movie, Roots: The Gift, aired. Based on characters from the book, it starred LeVar Burton as Kunta Kinte, Avery Brooks as Cletus Moyer and Kate Mulgrew as Hattie, the female leader of a group of slave catchers.

In the Charts:

Roots is the sixth studio album by Brazilian thrash metal band Sepultura, released in 1996 through Roadrunner Records. It was the band’s last album to feature Max Cavalera. The majority of the themes presented on Roots are centered on Brazilian politics and culture.

The inspiration for Sepultura’s new musical directon was two-fold. One was the desire to further experiment with the music of Brazil, especially the percussive type played by Salvador, Bahia samba reggae group Olodum. A slight influence of Northeastern Brazil‘s native music is also present in the guitar riffs, especially baião and capoeira music. Another innovation Roots brought was the inspiration taken from the (then) cutting-edge nu metal sound of the Deftones and KoЯn – especially the latter’s debut, with it’s heavily down-tuned guitars.

Roots was released in February 1996 and received with unprecedented enthusiasm. Even the popular press, that usually doesn’t pay a lot of attention to metal records, halted the presses to appreciate the unusual rhythms mixture of Sepultura. American newspapers like The New Times, the Daily News[disambiguation needed] and the Los Angeles Times reserved some space for the Brazilian band: “The mixture of the dense metal of Sepultura and the Brazilian music has a intoxicating effect”, wrote a Los Angeles Times’ reviewer. The Daily News went even further: “Sepultura reinvented the wheel. By mixing metal with native instruments, the band resuscitates the tired genre, reminding of Led Zeppelin times. But while Zeppelin mixed English metal with African beats, it’s still more moving to hear a band that uses elements of its own country. By extracting the sounds of the past, Sepultura determines the future direction of metal”.

Acknowledgements: This post would not have been possible without the untiring effort of all of those kind folk at Wikipedia who are up at all hours of the day and night writing entries.

I’d also like to thank they keys Ctrl, C and V

Beirut or Busk

Posted in culture, music with tags , on July 16, 2008 by Philonous

Following Skiffle and the Busker’s Art I found this video of Beirut on another edition of the culture show. (You may have noticed my small but perfectly formed obsession with this band through their featuring heavily in the Interesting Music posts.) Will they beat Mark Kermode and his Dodge brothers….? Watch to find out!

Skiffle and the Busker’s Art

Posted in culture, music with tags , on July 14, 2008 by Philonous

Check out the following clip from the BBC’s Culture Show. One regular segment of theirs takes major rock/pop stars and puts them on a street for 15 minutes to busk, the proceeds going to charity. A constellation of stars including Moby, Black Francis and Broken Social Scene have all taken part with varying degrees of success.

Mark Kermode, more usually known for rubbishing various films happens to be in a skiffle band – The Dodge Brothers. It seems that skiffle is summed up as somewhere between blues and rock’n’roll, using washboards rather than a drum kit (making it extremely portable). Apart from being one of my personal heroes, Dr Kermode (Manchester) happens also to be rather handy with a double bass and has the charisma to pull in the punters (and their cash). Marvellous.

Love song

Posted in music, New Zealand, TV with tags on June 18, 2008 by Philonous

The other day The Lodger and I were watching Flight of the Conchords:

Writer’s block and favourite poem

Posted in culture, music, poetry with tags , , on April 20, 2008 by Philonous

I thought it would be nice to post my favourite poem. It was composed by the German dada artist Kurt Schwitters. It is a love poem that doesn’t make sense (a translation is posted after the original):

o du, geliebte meiner siebenundzwanzig sinne, ich
liebe dir! – du deiner dich dir, ich dir, du mir. – wir?

das gehört (beiläufig) nicht hierher.
wer bist du, ungezähltes frauenzimmer? du bist
– bist du? – die leute sagen, du wärest – laß
sie sagen, sie wissen nicht, wie der kirchturm steht.
du trägst den hut auf deinen füßen und wanderst
auf die hände, auf den händen wanderst du.
hallo, deine roten kleider, in weiße falten zersägt.
rot liebe ich anna blume, rot liebe ich dir! – du
deiner dich dir, ich dir, du mir. – wir?
das gehördt (beiläufig) in die kalte glut.
rote blume, rote anna blume, wie sagen die leute?
1. anna blume hat ein vogel.
2. anna blume ist rot.
3. welche farbe hat der vogel?
blau ist die farbe deines gelben haares.
rot ist das girren deines grünen vogels.
du schlichtes mädchen im alltagskleid, du liebes
grünes tier, ich liebe dir! – du deiner dich dir, ich
dir, du mir – wir?
das gehört (beiläufig) in die glutenkiste.
anna blume! anna, a-n-n-a, ich träufle deinen
namen. dein name tropft wie weiches rindertalg.
weißt du es, anna, weißt du es schon?
man kann dich auch von hinten lesen, und du, du
herrlichste von allen, du bist von hinten wie
vorne: “a-n-n-a.”
rindertalg träufelt streicheln über meinen rücken.
anna blume, du tropfes tier, ich liebe dir!

(Kurt Schwitters, An Anna Blume)

This poem has also inspired the German hip-hop band Freundeskreis:


You, oh you, beloved of my twenty-seven senses, I love ya! –
You thine thou yours, I you, you me. – Us?

This (incidentally) does not belong here.
Who are you, countless woman? You are
– are you? – People
say you are – let

them say it, they don’t know where the steeple is.
You wear a hat on your feet and stand
on your hands, on your hands you walk.
Hello, your red clothes, sawed into white pleats.
Red I love, Anna Blume, red I love ya! – You
thine thou yours, I you, you me. – Us?
That (incidentally) belongs in the cold embers.
Red flower, red Anna Blume, what are people

Prize question: 1. Anna Blume has a bird.
2.Anna Blume is red.
3.What color is the bird?
Blue is the color of your yellow hair.
Red is the cooing of your green bird.
You plain girl in an everyday dress, you dear
green animal, I love ya! – You thine thou yours, I
you, you me – us?
That (incidentally) belongs in the ember box.
Anna Blume! Anna, a-n-n-a, I am dripping your
name. Your name drips like soft suet.
Do you know, Anna, do you know yet?
You can also be read from back to front, and you, you
most marvelous creature of them all, you are from the back
as you are from the front: »a-n-n-a.«
Suet drips caress my back.
Anna Blume, you droppy animal, I love ya!

I found this translation on Unfortunately the complex German grammar
which Kurt Schwitters plays with in this poem cannot be translated into English.


Posted in music, random with tags , on April 1, 2008 by Philonous

Johnny Cash famously covered Depeche Mode and Nine Inch Nails: it seems that a good song is good no matter what your personal take. Here, for your viewing pleasure are assembled a couple of my favourites.

They are:

  1. The Unforgiven – Iron Horse/Metallica
  2. Baby one more time – Travis/Britney Spears
  3. Holiday – Hayseed Dixie/Green Day
  4. Love will tear us apart – Susanna and the Magical Orchestra/Joy Division
  5. Satisfaction – Devo/The Rolling Stones
  6. Ain’t no Sunshine – Woven Hand/Bill Withers

Loop sampling

Posted in music, tech with tags on March 20, 2008 by Philonous

Over the past little while, I’ve noticed a couple of quite cool videos involving one person making a whole lot of live music using a loop sampler. Here are some examples…

This is a guy called Foy Vance on a BBC Northern Ireland music show.

Initially, I thought he had a drummer and some guitarist in the background – that is until I saw him sampling his voice.

This is a guy called Shlomo who’s a UK beatboxer performing on the BBC’s Glastonbury coverage. It’s amazing how quickly he builds up the layers of sound.

Somehow having this as a voicemail answer message doesn’t seem to do it justice…